“The Indian government is inviting the world to point fingers at India, and call it undemocratic and unconstitutional,” said Leslee Udwin of the ban on the documentary India’s Daughter , which has resulted in the film going viral on YouTube.
“Why are they doing this? Why are they intent on committing international suicide?” asked the award-winning British producer who directed the documentary that has been at the centre of a storm in India. “All I want to say to the world through my film and campaign is this: India led by example, now follow India’s lead.”
The film and accompanying campaign will see its official launch on Monday in New York. Among those who will attend and support the launch are actors Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Baroness Amos.
An unfortunate outcome of the BBC version of the film going viral is that it does not carry the global statistics on rape that the Indian and international versions have. “The tragedy for me is that the pirated copy on YouTube does not have the global statistics, as BBC Storyville has a house style that doesn’t allow them to put statistics on a film,” Ms. Udwin said.
The director called the allegations against her in the Indian media a “smear campaign.” She denies having paid for interviews, of cutting a deal with Mukesh Singh (the rape accused in Tihar Jail), and of not having followed legal processes in filming the story. According to her, she showed the uncut raw footage — all 16 hours of it — to a specially constituted five-person review team in Tihar on December 9 and 10, 2013. She also got separate permissions from the Home Ministry and the police for conducting interviews with the police and doctors. Several leading lawyers told her that the documentary would not prejudice the case. Finally, she says that the movie was seen and endorsed by the State prosecution team.